I waited until the night before I headed back to Kansas, for my fourth attempt at filling my 2009 archery tag, to actually decide that I was going to go. I didn't have anyone to video me due to the Christmas holidays. And once again, my son Coltin volunteered to help me out....

I've been to Kansas with archery equipment for four years prior to this season, and four years in a row I've left the state with a Pope and Young class buck in the back of the truck. This season I had been way to picky it seemed though. I had daylight photos on a daily basis in late October of some very nice bucks in the upper 140's and lower 150's, but elected to hunt on a different farm. The farm I was hunting was holding some real giants that I had dreamed about harvesting for the entire season.. Rod ended up taking one of those bucks, a 181" 11pt, and I stayed after the others without success. By the time I caught up with the other bucks after the rut, my schedule as well as the gun season, began to interfere. I elected to take my wife and son to my bow-blinds and they to were successful harvesting a 151" and a 165" buck as well.

"You'll never kill a great big one if you settle for just a good one". That was what I had told my self for the previous two months. Now however, a good one would suddenly become a great one, if I only had just one more chance. I had been greedy, and I knew it. But had I realized it in time?

So here I was the day after Christmas still holding my Kansas tag. I've ate "tag soup" before. I didn't like it then, and I didn't feel like a second helping. I called all my prospective cameramen, and everyone was busy with either work or family. When I hung up the phone on my last try, my 13 year-old son Coltin said "I can go run the camera for you dad." And so the decision was made to head back to Kansas for my fourth trip of the season. I kept telling Colt when we were headed up, that this trip just feels different. It just had that feeling that something good was going to happen.

We arrived at the motel in time to unpack and get dressed before heading out for the evenings hunt. We had already been driving for 8 hours when we arrived, so we decided to go to the bean-field blind. With 8"s of snow on the ground, standing beans seemed like the best choice. After the hunt, we would go pull the cards on the Reconyx to find out if any mature bucks had been showing up at the food in the daylight. We saw a few 2 year olds and plenty of does, but not one mature buck entered the field. After getting back to the truck we then decided to just sleep in the next morning and then go check the cameras.

The next morning, we made the trip to a lease 30 miles south of where we had hunted the evening before. We put the card from the Reconyx into the computer and "BAM!!!". The last picture on the camera was one of a mature 8 point that I had "dodged" for the last two months.. I only got a picture of his rack, but I knew it was him. "MO," the buck that I had named after the state of Missouri, had finally come back to the food plot of Biologic Maximum that I had planted for the late season. Mo was the "show me buck!" I was always getting daylight pictures of this deer until the middle of November, and then nothing. He totally disappeared! So needless to say, I was excited to get a current picture of the 4 year old, if only to know that he had made it through the rifle season.

The next day the wind was perfect for the food plot, but Mo didn't show. That night I checked the weather only to find out that the wind was going to be out of the east the following day, which is absolutely terrible for that location. To be quite honest, we didn't have a good spot for an east wind on either of the farms. We were considering not even hunting at all on the day of the 29th. Let me tell you, that's a tough decision to make when you only have to days left in the season. We didn't want to make a mistake that could cost us the following afternoon when the wind was supposed to be perfect again, out of the west.

Colt and I left at lunch time to stop and eat at the "lucky restaurant" and eat at our lucky table 13, which had seemed to pay off on the previous two trips with Coltin and my wife. We finished eating and then headed down to the lease to see if Mo had returned to the food plot that morning. I stopped at the gate to put the truck in 4-wheel drive and then proceeded do an interview about not being able to hunt the plot because of the wind. When we arrived to the camera, I decided to drive on down to the north end of the property to turn around to keep from getting stuck in the bottoms. That ended up being the luckiest move of the day! Just 50 yards from our north property line, I noticed a deer rise from his bed in the brushy fence line. "Oh my gosh Colt! It's Mo!", I said excitedly, thinking he was going to take off any second. But he just stood there staring at us. "Is there something wrong with him?", I asked wondering and still shocked at the deers careless attitude. It was if he thought that we were not a threat at all. I told Colt when I finally came to my senses, to get the camera and get some footage of him before he leaves. Colt got the camera on him as we both stepped out of the truck. I opened the back door and grabbed my Tru-fire release and put it on as quickly as possible. I grabbed the P.S.E, pulled it out, and looked at the buck about the time he started to trot up the fence line to the west. I quickly moved in front of the truck and up about 20 yards in the snow so I could see around the c.r.p. grass that was blocking a clean shot. The buck took a few more steps into the trees as he stopped and looked back at us. He was probably wondering what the two of us were doing and thinking that he was hidden. I didn't have time to range him, but I guessed him to be 50 yards.. I saw one opening that was clear and about as big as a pie plate. I could see the crease of his shoulder, and with total confidence in my equipment, I drew the bow, settled the pin, then touched the trigger. The arrow flew as good as I've ever seen, thanks to the Lumenok that let me watch the entire flight. On impact the Rage broad head struck perfect behind the shoulder! After tripping up through a brush top after the shot, Mo only went about 20 yards before going down on camera. I was kind of shocked yet happy, but still not believing that the buck that we were trying to harvest on this particular hunt, just stood there and gave me a shot. After recovering the deer, we inspected him for any injuries. Other than being severely run down from the rut and dealing with the brutal single digit temperatures, we could not see anything that should have caused him to act the way he did. Never the less, I was proud to finally harvest my Kansas buck, even if it did take me all season.

I guess there's other people that probably feel the way I do about deer that they get to know through the scouting cameras. But I'm gonna miss checking those Reconyx cameras next year knowing that ol' Mo's not gonna be there anymore. I get attached to these deer in ways that only a die-hard hunter can understand. I have the highest respect for these whitetails that we chase each fall. Every buck has it's own story, and I was honored to be able to harvest this particular animal.

Every time that I look at that set of antlers, it will remind me of the day that I took this great buck when I truly had no intentions of hunting. Luck just came my way this day, but hey, I'd rather be lucky than good...